Junior A Hurling Championship v Kilmacud Crokes

Junior A Hurling Championship v Kilmacud Crokes (2nd round)
01 May 2013
Castleknock 2-15 v Kilmacud Crokes 2-8

The Castleknock Junior “A” hurlers were blessed with another beautiful summer’s evening on which to continue their championship journey on Wednesday last. Somerton was the venue where we hosted southside titans Kilmacud Crokes. A couple of injuries to some key players ensured that the strength of the panel would be tested but after a bumpy ride we emerged with another 2 points in the bag.

Kilmacud won the toss and with the blazing sun falling in the west, they elected to play with the breeze towards the M50 end. This decision bore fruit after only a few minutes when a high, speculative ball found its way to the home net. They quickly tagged on a point and Castleknock realised they’d be a game. Things were not going well for the home side at this stage and we found it very hard to convert our chances. A combination of bad decision making, good goal-keeping and a preponderance to go for goal when a point was on, kept us chasing the scoreboard. We were neglecting the simple things that have stood to us so far this year and a very good Stillorgan side punished us with some well-taken scores.

We eventually opened the scoring with a hard-won point. Our full-back line of Ed, Dec and Eoin Conway, were dealing capably with any ball that came their way and Shane Boland was beginning to assert himself i lár na páirce. Some good fortune resulted in 2 quick goals before half-time, one from the Jamie Tunney and one from Ciarán Mac Giolla Chainnigh. The Crokes’ point-taking was of exceptional quality however and the short whistle sent the home side in trailing 2-3 to 2-6.

The second half brought a reinvigorated Castleknock team and we gradually found our way back into the game. The forward unit began working much harder and our half-back line started to dominate under opposition puck-outs. Where everything seemed like hard work in the first half, we were now gathering the ball much more quickly and sending the ball goalward. Scores were still hard to come by but Ronan Lynch, Paul Hammel and Ciarán O’Brien were hooking and harrying, giving the defence those vital seconds needed to get organised for any ball that did emerge. Brian Hughes turned over possession on numerous occasions to grab a score and Jamie Tunney took two of what are fast becoming his trademark scores from the right wing.

Tom Quinn was his usual combative self in the middle and Conor Corcoran seemed to be under every dropping ball. Conor Prunty and Baffo also started to sweep up the breaks. We had quickly overturned the deficit to lead by 3 but Crokes by no means threw in the towel. Brian Dunne had to get his judgement just right to claim a high ball from a forest of sticks and Conor Murray made a vital block on a goal effort that unfortunately forced him to retire injured. With 10 minutes remaining we were 7 points to the good. Dermot Curran worked hard upon his introduction to win ball and relieve the defence and he was perhaps unlucky for a score or two.

Entering the closing stages Crokes began concentrating on green flags but our full-back line held firm, denying any clear-cut chances. We maintained the 7 point advantage until the long whistle blew and the home side were relieved to collect another 2 points.

For Castleknock, we’ll hopefully have learned a lot. There is an old adage that to win while not playing particularly well is the sign of a good team but tonight many of the problems were homemade. When we hurl with commitment and simplicity we can be a formidable side. We can create scoring chances and rack up the scores if we hurl to our potential and to our advantage. We can also make life very difficult for the opposition when our work-rate is what it should be. The flip side of this however is that we can make life very difficult for ourselves, very quickly, by over-elaboration and looking for the “perfect” ball every time. There is no half-measure and a good side such as Crokes will punish any indiscretion. Thankfully, the effort and attitude was never in doubt and the application in the second half is a testament to this. On a night when scores were hard to find, our forward division knuckled down and put in a hard shift. Despite never being comfortable, neither did we look like losing and hopefully, tight games like this will improve everybody involved. This was a strong Crokes team and they will no doubt, be involved in the latter stages of the championship so to take 2 points despite struggling at times is indeed a good result.

A happy aspect of the game was the performance of the referee who let the game flow in a very non-fussy manner whilst always maintaining a sporting atmosphere. We’d also like to wish a speedy recovery to the Kilmacud player forced off with a finger injury and indeed to our own Conor Murray.

Brian Dunne, Declan Tobin, Ed Forrest, Eoin Conway, Ian “Baffo” Cleary, Conor Corcoran, Conor Prunty, Shane Boland 0-4, Tomás Quinn, Paul Hammel, Ciarán O’Brien, Jamie Tunney 1-2, Ronan Lynch 0-1, Ciarán Mac Giolla Chainnigh 1-3, Brian Hughes 0-5, Conor Murray For Eoin Conway, Dermot Curran for Ciarán Mac Giolla Chainnigh, Cian Ó Dúlaing for Paul Hammel, Andrew Hughes, Seán Healy, Cian Spillane